Boarder return to the 2007 World Championships venue
For some itís the place of their biggest success, for others itís the site of lost opportunities: Almost two years ago, Arosa not only hosted the 7th FIS Snowboard World Championships but celebrated them.
Just before Christmas, the athletes competing in the speed disciplines are coming back to Switzerland as from December 19th to 21st, 2008, the last contests of the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup before the turn of the year will be staged in Arosa. The entry list includes the top of the world of both disciplines plus the most of those who took home WCS honours from Graubuenden in 2007.
Especially the reigning World Champions have pleasant associations with their triumphs in the Alpine health resort nestling on an altitude level of 1,800 metres. In the Snowboard Cross (SBX), which will take place on the 19th (time trials) and 20th (finals), Lindsey Jacobellis was victorious back in the days relegating Sandra Frei (SUI) and Helene Olafsen (NOR) to the lower podium ranks. The US-American, who had missed Olympic Gold in 2006 in an utterly unfortunate way, is considered the top favourite after she took over the World Cup lead in Argentina in September ahead of Mellie Francon (SU) and Maelle Ricker (CAN).
On the men’s side, the current World Cup title holder from France won’t be able to make himself forget his bad World Championships result when he placed 41st. The 21-year-old, who sewed up the World Cup in Chapelco, is sidelined for the next months due to injury. However, his strong team mates such as reigning World Champion Xavier Delerue as well as Vincent Valery and Paul-Henri Delerue who finished fifth and sixth respectively in 2007 will tackle the course. In addition, WCS runner-up and Olympic champion Seth Wescott and Nate Holland, who grabbed Bronze, can also revive some good memories. But both US-Americans didn’t have such a good start in the season like Stian Sivertzen (NOR). The 31st of the last WCS came in second in Argentina ahead of Poland’s Mateusz Ligocki.
On the men’s side, another World Champion will hit the slope. But although PSL title holder Simon Schoch isn’t yet in the shape of 2007 with a sixth rank in Landgraaf and the knock out in the eighth finals of Limone, no one should underestimate the Swiss rider. However, the fans in Arosa won’t be able to watch a brother duel for the win like at the Olympics and WCS as Philipp is still struggling with problems with his intervertebral discs and thus had to postpone his comeback once again. In addition, it is also written in the stars if PGS World Champion Rok Flander will be fit enough to start in Arosa. The Slovenian was confined to his bed over the last weeks as he had suffered from pneumonia. However, “Ciro” hopes to be back in shape for the race. So, it could again be the time for Matthew Morison (CAN) who won the last parallel event in Limone Piemonte last Sunday.
On the women’s side, it will be exciting to see, if the Austrian boarder nation will celebrate a total podium sweep again. In the World Championship PSL, Heidi Neururer, Marion Kreiner and Doresia Krings secured the only medals for their home country. However, the top aspirant for Gold this time is Doris Guenther (AUT) who won the so far held two parallel races of this winter. Ekaterina Tudigescheva (RUS), Amelie Kober and Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli (SUI) will enjoy returning to Arosa, too, as two years ago, all three placed on the podium in the Parallel Giant Slalom.